Healthy Nutrition Tips For Swimmers
Swimming is a very demanding physical sport. Swimmers require a huge amount of energy for their practice. This calls the need for a healthy nutrition-rich diet for swimmers to replenish lost nutrients.
According to research in sports nutrition, a competitive swimmer can burn more than 5000 calories within four hours. Swimmers tend to burn 40% of their daily energy during swimming practice. Therefore proper nutrition id essential to recover and rebuild the energy source in the swimmers’ body.
Here in this article, we have listed nutrition tips and a healthy diet plan for swimmers to keep you healthy and strong.
Nutrition Tips for Swimmers:
1) Consume Carbs rich Diet – Carbs are being considered very unhealthy nowadays. However, if you swim at the competition levels, you should consume a lot of carbs to keep your energy levels high.
Our body uses carbohydrates in high efficiency; it and a person who engages in high-intensity physical activity will end up using carbohydrates as the main energy source.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends swimmers to consume carbs for the majority of calorie intake. The amount of carbohydrates you should consume depends on your body weight and the intensity of your swimming events.
2) keep a check on the Quality of the Carbs – if you wish to boost your swimming performance, pay attention to the carbohydrates quality and the time when you consume it.
The general rule of thumb is that you should consume simple carbs like energy drinks, fruits, and pretzels before, during, and after your swimming practice.
The body will burn these simple carbs quickly and will provide the required energy. Other times you should focus on consuming complex carbohydrates like beans, vegetables, and whole grains.
These foods take time to break down because of their chemical structure, which helps in balancing the blood sugar levels.
3) Don’t Forget the Protein – Consuming a protein-rich diet have two main benefits for swimmers.
First, it prevents muscle tissue breakdown during practice and competitions. Second, a protein-rich diet will help help you feel full for a long time and keep a check on your hunger pangs during training.
This does not mean you have to eat toms of proteins to reap these benefits. 160-pound swimmers should consume 15 grams of proteins two-four hours before the practice.
Some nutrient-dense protein food options for swimmers are dairy products, lean meat, eggs, nuts, and soy.
4) Keep Your Food Intake Balanced – while swimmers require high carb intake; still, they need to pay close attention to the overall diet plan.
Experts recommend that the ratio of Carbohydrate-to-protein should be 3 / 4 to 1, to provide the body needed nutrients for complete recovery after a workout. Eat foods with mixed nutrition like proteins, carbs, a small amount of fat throughout the day.
5) Stay Hydrated – it may sound counterintuitive, but a swimmer should drink plenty of water. The swimmer loses a huge amount of fluids during a workout in the form of sweat.
Current studies show that aerobic athletes lose 2.5% of total body weight through dehydration and experience a 45% decline in their performance ability.
There two best methods of checking your hydration level. First, examine your urine color. A well-hydrated person’s urine is pale yellow or colorless. Dark yellow urine indicates a lack of hydration.
You can also check your weight before the swimming practice and then after the workouts. Any single difference in your weight indicates a loss of fluids because of dehydration.
For every pound, you lose, drink 16-24 ounces of water or other fluids. Males should drink a minimum of 1 gallon of water every day, women should drink 3\4th of a gallon every day.
Food option for Before a Practice
Swimmers should eat a high carb meal 2-4 hours before the practice. The meal should be low in fat and fiber. Cereal with milk, oatmeal, or fruits with cinnamon or banana is a good option.
For extra nutrition, the swimmer can eat a light snack two hours before the practice or protein bar.
Food option for During an Event
The swimmers should drink and eat in between the events to boost recovery and avoid dehydration.
If teh swimmer has got an hour left before the events, they should eat a light and easy to digest snack. Yogurt, juice, and fresh fruits are some good options to have.
If there are more than two hours between the events, a sandwich, sushi, or pasta will make a good meal option.
Food option for After an Event
Foods after practice should be rich in nutrition, carbs, and protein for the recovery of muscle and energy building for swimmers.
Carbs: fruit smoothies, fresh fruit or toast, yogurt fruit cup, and jelly
Proteins: whole wheat pita and hummus, chocolate milk white meat sandwich, tuna salad, nuts, edamame, eggs, a smoothie with dairy and omelets or fried eggs on toast.
It is important to pay close attention to nutrition for swimmers. With proper diet plans, along with training, swimmers will be able to perform better and longer. Nutrition should not be taken for granted by any swimmer; it is equally important as practice.